Slavic R5B, Section 101: (Not) Seeing is Believing: Hallucinations, Delusions, and the Descent into Madness

SESSION D: M-Th 9-11, 228 Dwinelle. Instructor: TBA.

Units: 4

Course Control Number: 75105

All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

We are accustomed to relying on our senses (sight and sound) to provide us with accurate information about the world around us. But what if our senses betray us with visions and voices from beyond the bounds of reality? Numerous writers from across centuries and cultures have endeavored to explore this situation in works of literature. In this course we will examine the ways in which literature blurs the lines between delusion and reality, between sanity and madness. We will probe the ability of literature to shape and undercut our sense of empirical certitude.

Readings for this course include short works by Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A Hoffmann, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lev Tolstoy, and others.

Texts to buy:

Dostoevsky, Fyodor, Notes from Underground and The Double (Penguin Classics), Penguin Classics (April 28, 2009), ISBN-10: 0140455124

Gospodinov, Georgi, Natural Novel, Dalkey Archive Pr; First Edition (December 1, 2004), ISBN-10: 1564783766

Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Vintage; 2nd edition (May 12, 1998), ISBN-10: 0679785892

Course Reader available at Copy Central

Two to three film screenings are planned for the summer session.

This class meets from 9 AM to 11 AM, Monday through Thursday. Daily readings of approximately 20-40 pages will be assigned, and students will arrive at class prepared to actively participate in discussion. In class, we will conduct several writing workshops, aimed at refining rhetorical skills, grammatical accuracy, and imagination. In addition, students will be required to complete three short papers (including one paper revised based on peer and instructor feedback) and one research project culminating in the creation of a student- designed website (no HTML knowledge is required). By the end of the summer session, students will have strengthened their skills of close reading, imaginative interpretation, convincing writing, and web-based integration of research.

Prerequisite:Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent.  The “A” course requirement (or its equivalent) is the prerequisite for the second half of this two-course sequence.  Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.